See the daily excerpt from the preparatory catechesis for the 2015 World Meeting of Families, “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.”
88. For a parish to actually be a “family of families” calls for concrete actions of hospitality and generosity. Saint John Paul II said that “opening the door of one’s home, and still more of one’s heart,” is a mode of imitating Christ. To give help and to receive help are intimate things. No one, especially a child, parents struggling with unexpected crises, vulnerable elderly people, or anyone who is suffering, should be lonely in a parish family. There is no substitute for ordinary parishioners simply befriending and serving one another during the week, extending church beyond Sunday mornings. How lay people treat each other will determine whether a parish is fulfilling its mission in this way. This vision of parish life must be taught and modeled by clergy, perhaps especially in large parishes where there can be a temptation to anonymity. But, in the end, to make a parish alive in this way cannot be clericalised. This is a vision of church life that requires lay people. Saint Paul told the people in Galatia that if you “bear one another’s burdens,” then you “will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2, NRSV) By implication, then, if we are not bearing one another’s burdens, if we are leaving vulnerable families and single people to fend for themselves in loneliness, then we are selling ourselves short. If our lifestyles are not based on communion and service, then we cannot flourish. We were made for one another, and to live as if that is not true is a sadness, a failure to fulfill the life-giving law of Christ.
In its introduction, the document says its aim is to present “Catholic teaching in a way that is fresh, insightful, and accessible to contemporary Catholics and all people of good will.” The catechesis “offers a narrative beginning with our creation, soberly noting our fall and the challenges we face, but emphasizing God’s plan for our salvation. Love is our mission, and it is by loving God and one another that we will be fully alive.”
Each day in CatholicPhilly.com’s World Meeting of Families section you can reflect on the official Catholic teaching on the family presented in the catechesis, pray a special prayer together as a family or individually, and stay on top of breaking news about the events coming Sept. 22-27, 2015.
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